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President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship

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In the last few days, something remarkable has taken place in American politics. The president of the United States has made a point of taking on the special relationship with Israel and the Israel lobby in his effort to defend the Iran deal, and supporters of the special relationship have struck back hard, accusing him of anti-Semitism. Elliott Abrams, Lee Smith and Tablet magazine for starters.

What’s remarkable is that mainstream supporters of the deal have left the president to do this heavy lifting on his own. They have largely ignored his pointed comments: that the Democrats are under pressure from big donors to oppose the Iran Deal, that the same moneyed groups pushed the Iraq war, that it would be an abrogation of his constitutional duty if he sided with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and that Netanyahu’s intervention in American politics is unprecedented.

The exceptions are Eli Clifton working hard to expose AIPAC as warmongers at Lobelog, and David Bromwich attacking the Congress-people who are Netanyahu’s “marionettes” at Huffington Post.

But generally the liberal press has been embarrassed by Obama’s comments or tried to wish them away. The New York Times put AIPAC on its front page the other day, but allowed David Makovsky, an ardent supporter of Israel, to say that some of Obama’s statements are “dangerous.” David Rothkopf, the editor of Foreign Policy, is supporting the deal, but he has said on twitter that the emphasis on the Israel lobby is disturbing to him. Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli-American, tries to dispose of the criticisms of Obama by arguing that he can’t have any objection to dual loyalty in this day and age:

The very idea that there’s something wrong with dual loyalty is obsolete. It’s a fossilized relic of single-identity patriotism to the patria from centuries past. Nowadays, people migrate, have mixed heritage, multiple citizenships, meta-state communities and even multiple sexualities

Ali Gharib backs her up, saying that conservative critics of Obama are attributing ideas he doesn’t have to him. While Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine says much the same; he denies that Obama was talking about Jewish pro-Israel donors when it was reported in the New York Times that the president was lobbying Democratic senators to stick with him:

The president said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain, according to the senator.

Elliott Abrams seized on that same report to say that the president was mining anti-Semitism, by talking about the Israel lobby.

So the president is out there on his own. I believe he wants us, the American people, to talk about the Israel lobby and whose interests it’s supporting at this critical moment, so that he can solidify the most important foreign policy move of his administration; but the conversation isn’t really happening. Last night on Hardball, Steve Kornacki led a discussion of Chuck Schumer’s opposition to the deal in which he and Michael Tomasky acknowledged “political” pressures on Schumer from his constituents, but they left it at that. They didn’t say what those pressures are– Israel. They didn’t say that Schumer calls himself Israel’s Shomer, or guardian, didn’t even say that he is Jewish, something that the networks have been reporting because it’s relevant. Just as Laura Rozen of al Monitor cites Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz’s Jewishness in embracing his support of the deal yesterday.

I want the president’s conversation to happen. I want Americans to talk about the Israel lobby’s influence due to wealthy donors and talk about pro-Israeli activists’ loyalty to Netanyahu over the president. I think this important discussion can happen without anti-Semitism for a simple reason. Zionism is not Judaism. Jewish Americans do not all support Netanyahu. Some of us don’t even support Israel. Anti-Zionists don’t believe in the idea of a Jewish state any more than they’d support a Christian state in the U.S. Myself, I became an anti-Zionist in recent years because my liberal American values impelled me to demand that Palestinians living under Israeli rule should have the right to vote for their government.

There is actual ideological diversity inside the Jewish community, but many leading Jews do not want to discuss this openly. Some because they ardently believe that Zionism is the Jewish religion today. Others fear that by opening up this conversation, it will crack the American support system that Israel has always depended upon.

The ardent Michael Oren really believes it’s anti-Semitic to criticize the Israel lobby because the Israel lobby is merely the voice of The Jewish People reborn in their homeland. He writes:

“From an early age, I had an abiding–Freud would call it oceanic–love of the Jewish people. Whatever our differences, I insisted, and however disparately we practice our religion, we still belonged to the same tribe…. When the American Jews of my youth contributed to Israel under the banner ‘We Are One,’ I believed it.”

I find that belief really tribal and oldfashioned; but it led Oren, an American-Israeli, to rush his book out this spring so that he could appeal to American Jews to work against the Iran Deal. The same thing Netanyahu did last week by having a special speech for Jews. The Israel lobby is necessary Jewish power for these rightwing Zionists. And by the way, Oren also believes that the Jewish “homeland” extends to the biblical lands of the West Bank.

Elliott Abrams is another believer in Jewish peoplehood. He has said that Jews are a special nation who must stand apart from the nation we’re in:

Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart–except in Israel–from the rest of the population.

These beliefs are Zionist. They are surely part of Judaism, but many Jews don’t believe them. For me, they have as much meaning as the American belief that blacks are 3/5ths of a man: they are ancient codes that are out of step with the way we live now.

It’s obvious why Elliott Abrams and Michael Oren are attacking Obama. For them, the Israel lobby is the Jewish lobby. They are warriors for the people; and regard any criticism of the Zionist project in historic Palestine or its American support system as an anti-Semitic attack on Jewish life today.

But liberal Zionists are also not helping Obama out. They are uncomfortable with his daring. Why? Some are genuinely fearful that a full-on discussion of the Zionist lobby or the neoconservatives is a discussion of Jewish power; and there will be a rise in anti-Semitism if people start talking about who is trying to block the deal and why.

More important, liberal Zionists want to maintain the Zionist lobby in D.C., but reconstitute it. They want to see AIPAC broken so the lobby becomes an anti-occupation lobby that will get the U.S. to pressure Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and create a Palestinian state, or entity, or Bantustan. But liberal Zionists want the lobby around so that America will continue to support Israel, something Americans won’t do without Jewish pressure.

Liberal Zionists surely love Senator Brian Schatz’s statement supporting the deal. It repeatedly addresses Israel’s security and bewails the influence of Iran over Hamas. Wait, this is a deal to end sanctions and allow Iran to have nuclear power but not nuclear weapons. What has Hamas fighting Israel have to do with that?

Liberal Zionists don’t want American Jewish diversity because they don’t want a conversation that includes non- and anti-Zionists. Imagine you suddenly had a bunch of Jews who had legitimacy in Washington saying, We don’t need a Jewish state. That could destroy the American establishment consensus in favor of the special relationship.

If the American conversation were truly diverse, you would have a real discussion of Hamas’s roots in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine: and Max Blumenthal would be debating Senator Brian Schatz about Hamas on MSNBC. Blumenthal spent weeks in Gaza last year and he writes in The 51 Day War that Hamas militants are the resistance that we saw in “anti-colonial struggles throughout history, from Vietnam to Algeria to South Africa.”

If the conversation were truly diverse, you’d hear other challenges to the special relationship, and not only from Jews: realists saying that having Iran back in the community of nations is good for the entire Middle East; anti-proliferation activists describing the Israeli nuclear capacity; Palestinian-Americans telling about spending hours in the Israeli airport and then getting deported with a knock on the head…

Obama wants to open this conversation up not because he opposes or loves Israel (I can only imagine what he thinks of the Jewish state) but because his entire game right now is Democrats. And while Rothkopf is surely right that the Israel lobby is not the only opposition to the deal; in the Democratic Party, that’s the Gordian knot. Zionist money and AIPAC are dominant factors in Democratic politics. And a foreign prime minister is actually calling on the allegiance of a highly influential group, American Jews, to his country. Even Gharib has a problem with that:

the charge that Obama is making “dual loyalty” smears would seem to be undermined by the fact that Netanyahu made an explicit appeal to whatever loyalty American Jews may feel toward Israel.

President Obama needs to take on the special relationship in the name of world peace. Many Jews support him in this effort, and some of them are even anti-Zionists. It’s time for Americans to hear our views.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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91 Responses

  1. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    August 11, 2015, 3:12 pm

    Philip

    President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship

    Well here at Mondo Weiss and at other place where activists for Palestine we discussed this special relationship over and over again and keep discussing it. I would say:

    President Obama wants the US public to argue about the special relationship.

    If it really happens that the US public argues about the special relationship that would be a tremendous achievement.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      August 11, 2015, 5:13 pm

      If Phil is right that the only thing that keeps the democrats united on Israel is Jewish pressure – and he probably is – then Obama is not really trying to break up the special relationship such as it is, but rather to break the Likudnik monopoly on pro-Israel activism.

      This is something he has lamented before. If J Street didn’t have his back, would he have lunged for it? I doubt it.

      So what he’s trying to push here is really a taming if you will of the lobby, which is why Smith/Abrams/Tablets(the neocons) are whining so much and while the lib zios are all-in.

      Phil overanalyzed this to suggest this would somehow lead to the introduction of anti-Zionists. That’s far-fetched.

      Also:

      The very idea that there’s something wrong with dual loyalty is obsolete. It’s a fossilized relic of single-identity patriotism to the patria from centuries past. Nowadays, people migrate, have mixed heritage, multiple citizenships, meta-state communities and even multiple sexualities

      This strikes me as naive. What came before the nation-state? A great mixing of peoples. And a problem in all of these is that it was so hard to have any significant cohesion.

      Secondly, having two loyalties to, say, New Zealand and America isn’t really a big deal. Or even to Saudi Arabia and America. Israel and countries like China or Russia are different. China/Russia because they are political adversaries to the U.S. Israel because it has such an influential lobby, which has been a decisive factor in the last few decades’ push for wars in the Middle East(though far from the only one).

      The reason why America even functions is because of assimilation. It’s because of the acids that drip on the chains from our past history, our past loyalties. It’s why people say no to Zionism based on American ideals, rather than excusing it by Jewish tribal texts.

      America works, and it does so by accepting everyone but being demanding of them at the very same time.

      • Mary T
        Mary T
        August 11, 2015, 7:36 pm

        Beautifully put.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 12, 2015, 6:38 am

        “The very idea that there’s something wrong with dual loyalty is obsolete. It’s a fossilized relic of single-identity patriotism to the patria from centuries past. Nowadays, people migrate, have mixed heritage, multiple citizenships, meta-state communities and even multiple sexualities ”

        Your criticisms are well founded, Krauss.

        This is a very confused paragraph.

        I don’t know what she means by “meta-state communities” or “heritage”. I use “heritage” to mean “something passed down”, so it would include grandfather’s medals, family traditions, and cultural traditions. However, these days I frequently see the word used to mean “ancestry”.

        The biggest confusion, though, is between e-loyalty (an emotional attachment to a country or society) and o-loyalty (the moral obligation to support a country or society).

        Migration and “heritage” (at least in my sense) are factors in e-loyalty, whereas multiple citizenship is a factor in o-loyalty. I cannot see how multiple sexuality is relevant at all.

        On the basis of general duties of reciprocity and social contract theory I would say that o-loyalty is a moral obligation and is due to the country one normally lives in. (Permanent residence for tax purposes would be a good rule of thumb.) On the same basis I would say that, in case of conflict, the specific duties of o-loyalty always trump any activities based on e-loyalty.

        Assimilation is a way of aligning o-loyalty with e-loyalty, and thus reducing the risk of conflict between them.

        The “dual loyalty” debate would, I think, be helped my making these distinctions clear, and also by laying out at least a general outline of what duties are included in o-loyalty. I am not convinced that a precise listing of all such duties is possible.

      • thedirtydemocrat
        thedirtydemocrat
        August 12, 2015, 9:39 am

        The only thing to keep Dems AND Repugs in line with the Zionists is the big bucks they are bribed/donated. Otherwise it would be real democracy.
        Those of double citizenship in Congress get special attention from Sheldon Adelson and AIPAC to keep them in line beyond the bribes/donations

      • arobertsccl
        arobertsccl
        August 12, 2015, 1:01 pm

        This is addressed to the criticism of Jon Stewart for lacking courage on this issue. Do you recall Gaza Maul in which he showed leaders and pundits saying this is a very complicated tissue, then gong on to assert, in almost den identical words that Israel has a right to defend itself?
        Or his hosting Palestinan spokesperson Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Stop,the Occupation leader Anna Balzer. People tried to encourage him to more but he told them frankly that the volume and virulence of the comments wore him down.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 12, 2015, 2:55 pm

        “What came before the nation-state? ”

        I will add that the tradition of loyalty to one’s overlord (ultimately the king or emperor) is at least as well established as loyalty to a country. This, too, can be way of supporting the social order in which one lives, since that order was based on the overlord.

      • michtom
        michtom
        August 13, 2015, 12:28 am

        I think it’s important to remember that the Jewish lobby post-dates US policy in favor of the creation of Israel and the destruction of Palestinian rights.

        US policy on Israel has replicated the creation of the US: conquer and wipe out the indigenous people and pretend they were never there. It is a country whose purpose for US policy, like Saudi Arabia’s, is to help control the Middle East for the benefit of the US.

        The result, like so much of US foreign policy (cf. ISIS) is a monster that the US wants to deny is its child.

  2. chet
    chet
    August 11, 2015, 3:14 pm

    How many voices that one would reasonably expect to support President Obama’s pleas to consider the long-term benefits of the Iran deal and to not give in to lobbies, money and the influence of a foreign country stand silent because of a fear that their careers would be trashed if they dared to oppose the forces arrayed against President Obama?

    Much easier to stand on the sidelines and cluck in disapproval without taking an actual opposing stand.

  3. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    August 11, 2015, 3:20 pm

    If the American conversation were truly diverse, you would have a real discussion of Hamas’s roots in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine: and Max Blumenthal would be debating Senator Brian Schatz about Hamas on MSNBC. Blumenthal spent weeks in Gaza last year and he writes in The 51 Day War that Hamas militants are the resistance that we saw in “anti-colonial struggles throughout history, from Vietnam to Algeria to South Africa.”

    I am reading The 51 Day War right now. Having read and reviewed Max’s first two books already, I am delighted to say that his new one is even more readable, more compelling in its portraits and sketches, than “Gomorrah” or “Goliath” are.

    To go beyond Philip W’s assertion here, that Max would be a worthy torch bearer for this debate, is anyone willing to go out on a limb and predict when or if that might actually happen? Max is perhaps the most articulate active spokesperson for Palestinian rights who isn’t Palestinian. Additionally, his grasp of the history of Zionism is approaching the profound, as he appears to learn more and more, and to forget nothing.

    • lysias
      lysias
      August 11, 2015, 5:07 pm

      Blumenthal’s new book gives the human dimension to the Israeli recent crimes against Gaza.

    • niass2
      niass2
      August 11, 2015, 9:43 pm

      I have realized they could and maybe should emulate the Vietcong, and hopefully a similar result will be achieved, as Abbas will be gone soon…Demicrats will have to learn the hard way, almost none of them can talk about it. I have tried and I am Jewish, and they are afraid to talk about it, especially to a Jew who is not on board with the whole Zionist nightmare pogrom I mean program. Its been like this since 911 with even the so called left wing democrats like Edward Markey, and before also but I wasn’t old enough to know and didn’t try to interact with actual congressional staff. They are interested in anything but this issue. markey is good on domestic things but has been voting for almost every war including the two Iraq wars and the Afghani one also. he is now undecided whatever that means, not a good thing

  4. annie
    annie
    August 11, 2015, 4:01 pm

    great article phil, i hope everyone reads it.

    • Rodneywatts
      Rodneywatts
      August 11, 2015, 5:15 pm

      Absolutely agree Annie, a really cogent piece by Phil, and hopefully the drive to get more debate will gain more traction…….. I really like Philip Munger’s thoughts regarding Max B.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      August 11, 2015, 6:43 pm

      Ditto
      I will do my part to spread it across social media.

  5. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    August 11, 2015, 4:45 pm

    President Obama will do much to protect this his sole foreign policy accomplishment, this pact with Iran. If it requires getting America to discuss the special relationship, he’s willing to go that far. But if he can get it passed (or protected from override) without such a discussion, there is no reason to believe that he wants this discussion. I predict that this pact will not be vetoed by the congress and that after this skirmish is over, he will not press the point. If he goes and abstains in a french resolution at the UN regarding a reinterpretation of 242, then that will be the sign that he wants such a discussion.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 11, 2015, 6:24 pm

      “I predict that this pact…”

      Talk to the hand, Yonah. Talk to the hand.

      “But if he can get it passed (or protected from override) without such a discussion, there is no reason to believe that he wants this discussion.”

      Yonah, you got any “reason to believe” Obama (or anybody else) can stop such a discussion? How?

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    August 11, 2015, 6:10 pm

    “It’s time for Americans to hear our views” Indeed Phil. When will Chris Matthews, Maddow etc grow some real journalistic integrity and have you, Blumenthal and other Jews who oppose the I lobby and Israeli leaders having so much destructive power in this country and ultimately against a now dead two state solution? When?

    I talked about Mondoweiss, Emptywheel, the Leveretts to Chris Matthews at the Libby trial. I mentioned these sites to him (and other heavy news host hitters) at the Dem convention in 2008 in Denver. You can bet by now some of them are swinging by here. When will they grow some steel nerves like Melissa Harris Perry has on this issue. Times have shifted a bit.

    All Kornacki simply has to do is ask Schumer about his statement that he would “do what is best for the U.S.” How would Schumer explain how his voting this deal down is good for the U.S.? Israel or the rest of the world?

    Jonathan Capehart (who was in for Kornacki over the weekend) touched on Kornacki’s interview with Schumer. They played a clip of Schumer saying he would be reading the deal etc. But cut the tape just before Schumer said “he would do what is best for the U.S.” I think that is the Schumer line/claim to dig into.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      August 11, 2015, 7:40 pm

      You’re absolutely right, and it’s all SO obvious.

      I would amend Phil’s statement –

      “But generally the liberal press has been embarrassed by Obama’s comments or tried to wish them away.”

      to read –

      But generally the oligarchy press has been threatened by Obama’s comments and tried to wish them away.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        August 12, 2015, 8:54 am

        All of the MSM talking heads are looking out for their own skins with the exception of Melissa Harris Perry who for awhile was hitting this issue head several times. Chris Hayes at one time too.

        Interesting how Jon Stewart was hailed all over the media as this person unafraid to tackle all issues, brave, would go where few of our msm journalist would go. During Stewarts 2500 shows he went after many other world leaders but not Israeli leaders, not Israel’s war crimes. On Iran I heard Stewart repeat some of the unsubstantiated claims about Iran. Really not that brave at all.

  7. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    August 11, 2015, 6:44 pm

    Zionists fear that “opening up the argument will crack the American support system”

    as when Humpty Dumpty had his big fall, only in this instance it’ll be –

    all the Israel lobbyists and all the dual loyalists couldn’t put the special relationship together again

  8. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    August 11, 2015, 7:01 pm

    Zionism is a form of settler colonialism

    all forms of colonialism are racist

    Judaism is not racist

    therefore Zionism is not the same as Judaism

    what is it then?

    a 19th century racist credo that’s out to hijack Judaism

    • RobertHenryEller
      RobertHenryEller
      August 12, 2015, 8:25 am

      Correct. Zionism is not Judaism. Going further, I question how many, if any, Israelis are indeed Jewish, at this point, despite whatever rituals they attend to.

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2
      August 12, 2015, 2:57 pm

      Indeed, yourstruly. Back in 1917, in a cynical display of NIMBY-ism* (“not in my back yard”), the then Foreign Secretary proposed to the British Cabinet to sign the document which [in]famously bears his name. A solitary member of the Cabinet opposed the Balfour Declaration. That lone voice foresaw the inequalities and discriminations to which Zionist colonisation of Palestine would lead; uncannily, he foresaw, too, the potential Zionism held for creating a backlash against Diaspora Jews which Miliekowsky and his ilk appear right now to doing their best, through their egregious behaviour and their claims to speak with a single voice for world Jewry, to engender. Describing Zionism as a “mischievous political creed”, the opponent of the Balfour Declaration was the Secretary of State for India, one Edwin Montagu; scion of a much-respected London banker, Samuel (Lord Swaythling), Montagu was the only Jew in the Cabinet.
      *A century ago, support of the British and other Western allied powers for a Zionist project in Palestine was predicated on a [correct] belief that, when the Great War of 1914-18 ended, there would be, as a result of the war itself but also of supervening political, social and economic turbulence caused inter alia by the Russian Revolution, significant numbers of displaced Jews from Middle and Eastern Europe who would likely seek refuge in the West. Support for a Zionist colony in the Levant, they persuaded themselves, could deflect some of this tide of dislodged humanity from the United Kingdom and other Western nations.

  9. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    August 11, 2015, 7:10 pm

    Several progressive and anti-war groups are mobilizing members to support the Iran deal by contacting their reps during August. I have heard from Democracy for America, MoveOn, United for Peace and Justice, WILPF … Perhaps our congresscritters will actually pay attention.

  10. PeaceThroughJustice
    PeaceThroughJustice
    August 11, 2015, 7:10 pm

    Talking about the lobby means talking about power and this is particularly difficult for many American Jews, because holding power conflicts with the notion of passive victimhood. Once you’ve acknowledged power you’re forced to take up responsibility for how that power is being used, and that raises difficult moral questions of your relation to your neighbor.

    I remember back in the early Observer days of Mondoweiss when Phil was first trying to broach the subject of the community’s vast power in polite conversation. I can still remember the day — probably sometime around 2006 — when he actually used the words “Jewish power” for the first time and what a shocking experience it was to see those words in print. It was like a lightning bolt had struck. I remember his college chum “Realistic Dove” (Dan Fleshler) almost had a heart attack and begged him to reconsider, to pull back, to think of the forces he was unleashing. But the earth didn’t swallow him up, there were no pogroms, and he’s kept going ever since. (Although the Observer did fire him within a year.)

  11. michelle
    michelle
    August 11, 2015, 7:37 pm

    .
    i support Israel
    in every good it does/or tries to do
    want more support do more good
    that is true support
    and i’m not even considered part of it’s tribe
    nothing wrong with tribes/groups …. until they
    stop trying to do what is best for themselves
    .
    the best one can do for oneself is the best one can do for every & all
    no justice no peace
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  12. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    August 11, 2015, 7:51 pm

    these Israel-firsters are scared

    and well they should be

    knowing as they must that their putting the interests of Israel before those of the U.S. is a risky business

    especially, should they succeed in turning Congress against the Iran deal

    and by so doing

    once again the public is to be confronted with the spectacle of body bags coming home from the Middle East

    each containing what remains of a life

    wasted

    in another war that could (should) have been averted

  13. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    August 11, 2015, 9:09 pm

    Hamas may be the resistance, created by occupation, but its interesting your parallel to not wanting a Jewish State in Palestine is your belief that America should not be a Christian state.

    Yet, Hamas, which you clearly want re-evaluated into legitimate freedom fighters, tacitly argues for an Islamic state.

    Do you also not want an Islamic state and if not is this not a contradiction?

    I don’t see any legitimate argument for change in Israel that is not based in universal rights which would allow people to worship freely but would not sanction a state religion, even that of the majority. Just as you argue for Jews and Christians.

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      August 11, 2015, 9:55 pm

      RE: “Yet, Hamas, which you clearly want re-evaluated into legitimate freedom fighters, tacitly argues for an Islamic state.” ~ tokyobk

      MY REPLY: Thanks a lot, Israel! ! !

      SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

      [EXCERPT] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.
      “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
      Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .
      . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
      “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 11, 2015, 10:03 pm

        JLD — ok let’s take that as a starting position and assume it as a fact: Israel created Hamas.
        Now, even before the passage on Max Blumenthal it struck me as interesting that Phil used the the US not being a Christian state as a comparative position to Israel not being Jewish.
        So, again, is an Islamic state as offensive an idea as a Jewish or Christian one.
        For me its all the same and as I said I don’t see a logical or moral position where any group gets a pass on imposing their religion, even as a majority.
        I do think there is some substance to the criticism that some progressives in the West tend to excuse if not identify with very un-progressive forces in the non-West, under the banner of anti-colonialsm but with, imo, some lowering of standards.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        August 11, 2015, 10:17 pm

        P.S. ALSO SEE: “The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11” (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

        [EXCERPTS] The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. What started as a quiet American flirtation with political Islam became a Cold War love affair on the sly – an affair that would turn out disastrously for the United States. Nearly all of today’s radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, trace their lineage to the Brotherhood. . .
        . . . For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In “Sleeping with the Devil”, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
        This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended, whereupon an Islamic Frankenstein named Osama bin Laden lurched into existence. . .

        SOURCE – http://ce399fascism.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-cia-and-the-muslim-brotherhood-how-the-cia-set-the-stage-for-september-11-martin-a-lee-razor-magazine-2004/

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 11, 2015, 10:25 pm

        JLD — Even if it were true that the CIA set the stage for the Muslim Brotherhood, it does not address the issue above and btw another thing Westerners do is assume that the West in general (and white people) are the authors of everything bad about the world, which flops but still endorses eurocentrism. The MB predates 9/11 by decades and has its own origins as a response to the West but also from forces within Islam.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 11, 2015, 10:25 pm

        …-some- Westerners do…

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        August 11, 2015, 10:26 pm

        P.P.S. AND SEE – “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, By Mark Curtis, Reviewed by Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 7/30/10

        [EXCERPTS] For years, violent Islamist groups were allowed to settle in Britain, using the country as a base to carry out attacks abroad. This was tolerated in the belief that they would not bomb the country where they lived and that, as long as they are here, the security service would be able to infiltrate them. At the same time mosque after mosque was taken over through intimidation by the fundamentalists. Police and others in authority refused pleas from moderate Muslims with the excuse that they did not want to interfere.
        There was even a name for this amoral accommodation: the “covenant of security”. We now know that jihadists will indeed blow up their home country and that the security agencies signally failed to infiltrate the terrorist cells while they had the chance.
        The part played by officials in the growth of terrorism in Britain is a relatively small-scale affair compared to what went on abroad. Successive UK governments had nurtured and promoted extremists for reasons of realpolitik often at a terrible cost to the population of those countries. Mark Curtis, in his book on “Britain’s collusion with radical Islam”, charts this liaison. He points out how reactionary and violent Muslim groups were used against secular nationalists at the time of empire and continued afterwards to back UK and Western interests.
        The price for this is now being paid at home and abroad. I am writing this review in Helmand, where a few days ago I went on an operation with British and Afghan troops against insurgents whose paymasters, across the border in Pakistan, have been the beneficiaries of US and British largesse.
        Curtis points out that two of the most active Islamist commanders carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalalludin Haqqani, had particularly close contacts with the UK in the past. Hekmatyar met Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street when he was a favourite of MI6 and the CIA in the war against the Russians. Haqqani, while not the “Taliban’s overall military commander fighting the British” as Curtis says (he runs his own network parallel to the Taliban), was viewed as a highly useful tool in that conflict.
        The Western use of the Mujaheddin as proxy fighters is well documented. It resulted in the spawning of al-Qa’ida, the spread of international terrorism, and the empowering of ISI, the Pakistani secret police, who became their sponsors. Curtis examines the lesser known by-products of this jihad: the dispatch of Afghan Islamist veterans, with the connivance of Britain and the US, to the wars in the Balkans and the former Soviet republics in central Asia, and ethnic Muslim areas of China. Vast sums of money from the West’s great ally, Saudi Arabia, helped fund the Reagan administration’s clandestine war in support of repressive military juntas in Latin America while, at the same time, buttressing the aggressive Wahabi faith embraced by many terrorist groups.
        The use of hardline Islam by the West was particularly prevalent at the time of the Cold War. In many instances, however, the targets for destabilisation were not Communist regimes but leaders who had adopted left-wing policies deemed to pose a threat to Western influence and interests.
        The UK attempted to combat “virus of Arab nationalism”, after Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt and nationalised the Suez Canal, by forging links with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation involved in terrorism. The nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadeq led to a British-American organised coup which was facilitated by Ayatollah Seyyed Kashani, one of whose followers was the young Ruhollah Khomeini. In Indonesia, the removal of Ahmed Sukarno in another military coup by the UK-US was carried out with the help of Darul Islam. Its followers went on to massacre socialists and trade unionists.
        In each of these cases the clandestine backing of Britain and the US strengthened Islamist groups at the expense of secular bodies and moderate Muslims. These groups then went to form terrorist groups whom the West would later have to confront in the “War on Terror”. . .

        ENTIRE BOOK REVIEW – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/secret-affairs-by-mark-curtis-2038691.html

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 11, 2015, 11:15 pm

        “I do think there is some substance to the criticism that some progressives in the West tend to excuse if not identify with very un-progressive forces in the non-West, under the banner of anti-colonialsm but with, imo, some lowering of standards. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/president-special-relationship#comment-151747

        “Hamas may be the resistance, created by occupation, but its interesting your parallel to not wanting a Jewish State in Palestine is your belief that America should not be a Christian state.

        Yet, Hamas, which you clearly want re-evaluated into legitimate freedom fighters, tacitly argues for an Islamic state.
        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/president-special-relationship#comment-789257

        I had a long reply intended to address all your issues with respect to the acceptability of Islamic states versus other religions, etc. But really it is too long for this time of night. And the benefit of putting an effort into addressing all the related issues is dubious.

        In a very short summary I will say I am opposed to all religious states.

        That said it is extremely clear that what you fail to grasp, or accept, is that Israel and it’s zionist supporters are perpetrating crimes against humanity. They are violating international law. They are stealing the property of others. They are denying millions of innocent people their basic human rights. They are killing women children and babies in the hundreds and thousands to add to their ill gotten gains.

        It’s not a matter of being pro or anti Islamic or Judaic states.

        It’s a matter of stopping the criminal enterprise that is destroying the lives of millions of people.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 12, 2015, 1:45 am

        So, again, is an Islamic state as offensive an idea as a Jewish or Christian one. For me its all the same and as I said I don’t see a logical or moral position where any group gets a pass on imposing their religion, even as a majority

        Christian or Moslem is obviously a religious designation and a C or M state obviously means having an official religion.

        Now, what is “Jewish” in your Jewish state? Just a religion? Then what the hell are all these Founding Fathers and sons doing there? How did they get to immigrate, even? Can you see an Islamic state with a comparable exclusive citizenship system distributing passports to atheist grandsons of supposed believers? To all sons of a Muslim woman? A Vatican citizenship to Madalyn o’Hair? To all racially Catholic persons?

        Which one do you mean, of the tribal and racial, as it seems to be except when it is convenient for the Zionists to pretend so for a moment and the religious, where only practicing Jews would be admitted?

        Please make up your mind already, so that the reader can try to understand what you are trying to say.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 12, 2015, 4:03 am

        OldGeezer-

        You write:

        “That said it is extremely clear that what you fail to grasp, or accept, is that Israel and it’s zionist supporters are perpetrating crimes against humanity. They are violating international law. They are stealing the property of others. They are denying millions of innocent people their basic human rights. They are killing women children and babies in the hundreds and thousands to add to their ill gotten gains. ”

        Its amazing to me that you see that any where in what I am writing, that is a defence of Zionism or Israel, or denial of crimes against Palestinians. At all. In fact I agree with Phil and others that a religious state, including Jewish Israel, has no justification anywhere. I am simply saying, is exactly what I said, that Phil omitted and Islamic state and then in fact went on to say Hamas needs revisionism. And I think there are the meanings I implied in those omissions.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 12, 2015, 4:23 am

        @ tokyobk

        Phil’s an American. No American finds, or is indoctrinated to view any Muslim state as a model worthy of anything other than arms-length relations, transactions. Oil kingdoms are oil spigots & MIC retail customers. Since the end of the cold war, Israel has no essential practical use to Uncle Sam. Instead, Israel is Uncle Sam’s biggest charity case, and unique enmeshment case. Americans have been indoctrinated for scores of years that Israel has the same values as Uncle Sam, which it does–but only for Jewish citizens, including its settlers in OT.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 12, 2015, 7:19 am

        I agree with oldgeezer that tokyobk appears to have gone off on a bit of a tangent, but I agree with tokyobk’s tangent: A sovereign Palestine, just like a sovereign Israel, should be a secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally, and not a supremacist state of any kind (religious or otherwise).

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 12, 2015, 12:31 pm

        “That said it is extremely clear that what you fail to grasp, or accept, is that Israel…/… to add to their ill gotten gains.
        It’s not a matter of being pro or anti Islamic or Judaic states.
        It’s a matter of stopping the criminal enterprise that is destroying the lives of millions of people.”

        Thanks, “Old Geezer”. I couldn’t put it that well.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 12, 2015, 1:21 pm

        eljay … I agree with tokyobk’s tangent: A sovereign Palestine, just like a sovereign Israel, should be a secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally, and not a supremacist state of any kind (religious or otherwise).

        —————————

        I also agree with tokyobk’s basic argument and support your call for a secular democratic Palestine.
        ————————–
        and not a supremacist state of any kind (religious or otherwise).

        Israel is an ethno-theocratic state with some liberal democratic elements; it combines both religious and ethnic discrimination.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        August 12, 2015, 1:22 pm

        For me, Tokyo is raising the question of common cause: if opposition to Zionism amounts to making common cause with a theocratic group – for the sake of argument an extremist and cruel one – can we still oppose Zionism? Similarly, could a reasonable person have opposed Tsarism if there was excellent reason to think that Stalinism would ensue?
        I would begin my reply by saying that the ‘fundamental oppression’ (Beinart’s phrase, though he sees it only in the Territories) of Zionism does not cease to exist now because of other oppression that might exist in the future. So a degree of opposition to present oppression is necessary in all circumstances, even if the oppressors scorn us, at the level of morality. So that degree of common cause is inevitable.
        However, there is an equal moral duty to remind the theocratic opponents of Z, even if they’re not listening, that we do not share their aims. At the level of practical politics there are a couple of principles that strike me. One is to be prepared for compromise and non-hasty transitions: there’s never any point in trying to put everything right in one day. The other is to be careful about believing the propaganda of the existing regime about how awful its opponents actually are.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 12, 2015, 3:49 pm

        @MHughes976

        ” if opposition to Zionism amounts to making common cause with a theocratic group – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/president-special-relationship#comment-151747

        The the suggestion he is clearly making is that it is indeed a common cause. A suggestion made by many zionist supporters in order to defame any opposition to zionists. The same argument made that those wh opposed the Iraq war supported Hussein.

        Palestinians deserve not to have their lives and property stolen by zionist criminals. Opposing their illegal activities has nothing to do with standing with people who wish to impose a theocratic regime over the Palestinians. It has everything to do with standing with our fellow human beings who have their lives snuffed out with high tech weaponry.

        Their are groups who would likely want theocratic rule in a new Palestine. I hope they fail. I hope the Palestinian people make a better choice. Just as I wish Israelis made better choices. Ultimately they deserve the right to make a choice just like other peoples.

        There is no common cause. No more than I am suddenly aligned with all groups who want sunny weather and moderate temperatures. It’s just a backdoor means of trying to defame those who oppose Israeli criminality.

        @tokyobk

        See above. And I repeat, it’s about Israel’s crimes and brutality.

        Rinse and repeat.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 12, 2015, 11:36 am

      That’s it, “tokyobk” you go ahead and hold the Palestinians to the same high standards the Israelis and Zionists are held to. After all, why shouldn’t the Palestinians have a Western liberal democracy just like Israel’s?
      And I just gotta say, any people who have had the example of Zionism and Israel right in amongst them for 60 year and more, and doesn’t want to have the same kind of ostensible democracy? Well, there’s a word for people like that, and it’s spelled like “live”, only backwards!

    • gamal
      gamal
      August 12, 2015, 6:29 pm

      “Yet, Hamas, which you clearly want re-evaluated into legitimate freedom fighters, tacitly argues for an Islamic state.”

      yes where is the Palestinian Bernie Sanders…..

      “re-evaluated into legitimate freedom fighters” ? that is a piece of vicious shit, who created and maintains Gaza you vile self righteous idiot.

    • annie
      annie
      August 12, 2015, 8:31 pm

      tokyobk, hamas doesn’t rule gaza because it is an islamic state, and it didn’t win the election because of religious ideology either. it’s a (legitimate) resistance movement. you can’t speculate about how palestinians would choose to rule themselves if they were free based on who they chose under occupation when the only alternative was a defacto puppet government.

      besides if they had any viable strong secular leaders who could rule israel would likely kill or imprison them.

  14. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    August 11, 2015, 9:38 pm

    RE: “Liberal Zionists surely love Senator Brian Schatz’s statement supporting the deal. It repeatedly addresses Israel’s security and bewails the influence of Iran over Hamas.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?” ~ by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 29 July 2015

    [EXCERPT] Newsweek is reporting that Iran has cut off funding to Hamas in Gaza, citing Israeli journalism and Hamas sources. Iran’s relationship with the Hamas party-militia in the Gaza Strip has been an roller-coaster ride in the past three years. . .
    . . . Two weeks ago, Khalid Mashaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, was summoned to Riyadh. It had been years since Hamas was allowed into Riyadh, much less into the palace. There were rumors that Saudi Arabia was determined to wean Hamas off its Iran alliance as a way of closing ranks within the Sunni Arab forces. . .
    . . . An Arabic newspaper, al-Watan, has translated a story from Maariv in the Israeli press. It alleges that Saudi Arabia is desperate to create a Sunni bloc to counter the Shiite one Iran had generally picked up.
    Is Saudi Arabia on the verge of picking up Hamas as a client? It is entirely possible.

    LINK – http://www.juancole.com/2015/07/turning-saudi-arabia.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      August 11, 2015, 9:48 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Iran Outraged by Warming Ties Between Hamas and Saudi Arabia”, algemeiner.com, 10 August 2015

      JNS.org – Iran canceled a planned visit to Tehran by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal due to the Palestinian terrorist organization’s new ties with Saudi Arabia, according to Arab media reports.

      An Iranian official reportedly met with a Hamas delegation in an unnamed Arab country just days before Mashaal was due to make a visit to Tehran that would have included a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian official informed the Hamas leaders of the unprecedented cancellation, but did not offer specific reasons for the move.

      Reports said the official then spoke about Hamas’s improving relations with Saudi Arabia, noting that Tehran is not supportive of the budding friendship. The official added that in light of Iran’s uncompromising support of the Palestinians—in the economic, military, and political spheres—the recent meetings between Mashaal and Saudi officials in Riyadh were viewed by Iran as a personal affront.

      In interviews over the past few days, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk has said that Hamas’s relationship with Iran is now virtually nonexistent.

      SOURCE – http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/08/10/iran-outraged-by-warming-ties-between-hamas-and-saudi-arabia/#

  15. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    August 11, 2015, 10:02 pm

    RE: “And while Rothkopf is surely right that the Israel lobby is not the only opposition to the deal . . .” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Michele Bachmann: Obama Fulfilled End Times Prophecy With Iran Deal, So Celebrate!” ~ by Brian Tashman, rightwingwatch.org, 8/10/2015 1:25 pm

    In an interview with Religious Right radio host Jan Markell this weekend, former Rep. Michele Bachmann once again claimed that President Obama is ushering in the End Times, this time citing the nuclear agreement with Iran as proof of the arrival of the Last Days.

    Bachmann claimed that the unanimous UN Security Council vote to approve the agreement was “the most important national security event of my lifetime” because it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, “with the United States leading that charge.” She added that God and “heaven’s armies” will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so “prove to the world His power and His strength.”

    “There are consequences to doing things like this against God’s covenant land, there are horrible consequences,” Markell said. “Then you throw in some other things such as the Supreme Court decision back in late June and a lot of other things. Judgment isn’t just coming; judgment is already here.”

    • AUDIO – https://soundcloud.com/rightwingwatch/bachmann-end-times-prophecy-fulfilled-by-iran-vote-at-un-security-council

    Bachmann told listeners that they should feel “encouraged” by the fact that they are living in the End Times, explaining that these dark times are actually the best time to be alive since that means the world will soon come to an end.

    “The prophets longed to live in this day that you and I are privileged to live in,” Bachmann said.

    • AUDIO – https://soundcloud.com/rightwingwatch/bachmann-celebrate-the-end-times

    Predicting the arrival of nuclear war, Bachmann said that Iran will position its future cache of nuclear weapons in Cuba in order to aim them at the U.S.

    • AUDIO – https://soundcloud.com/rightwingwatch/bachmann-cuba-may-house-iranian-nukes

    SOURCE – http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/michele-bachmann-obama-fulfilled-end-times-prophecy-iran-deal

    P.S. Listening to Michele Bachmann and her ilk really make me feel like bashing my head on the pavement! ! !

  16. August 11, 2015, 11:22 pm

    Exactly Phil – great article – thank you – you are letting it all hang out – Zionism is not Judaism – Israel is is not Judaism – AIPAC is not Judaism. Therefore, it is not justified to label someone as an anti-Semite for criticizing Israel, AIPAC or Zionism. This is our most powerful and far-reaching argument. The people who deny this argument should be named and shamed. They are the problem. The use and significance of calling someone an anti-Semite has been amplified by powerful marketing strategies and for innocent critics it can be a punishing event with far-reaching consequences. Many Jews and others in the US media condone this unfair characterization of critics obviously in order to protect Israel from criticism. For this reason, many Jews and gentles are afraid to say anything negative about Israel, Zionism or AIPAC. The courageous Walt and Mearsheimer were crucified by the MSM. If they had not been tenured Professors at famous universities, they would have been ruined.

    But unfortunately a large number of US Jews and others support Israel and AIPAC unconditionally and fund our politicians if they agree to do the same. Israel is the only country in the world that is against the deal with Iran only because Israel wants to be top nuclear dog in the Middle East. Right now AIPAC are spending 40 million dollars in the USA in order to change public opinion to join them in defying Obama and opposing the Iran deal. This is an epic moment in our history. If Israel fails in this shameless exercise, its deceptive and mendacious role in US foreign policy will be checked. What is good for Israel and what is good for the US are two different things.

  17. Marnie
    Marnie
    August 12, 2015, 12:16 am

    From Lisa Goldman on twitter

    “Video song “To Be an Arab” turns identities upside down. Good stuff. youtube.com/watch?v=6v0IWk…”

  18. chris o
    chris o
    August 12, 2015, 1:09 am

    Great piece. I don’t really think Obama is taking on the special relationship, but I love your optimism.

    I think a pretty good theory is that Congress can/will not override Obama’s veto so the deal will go through and that is why Chuck Schumer could come out against it. He can be a loyal guardian of Israel yet it won’t be enough to scuttle the deal so it is not an embarrassment to Obama. He then becomes Democratic Leader in the Senate and that will help the Democrats to some extent to staunch some heavy monetary bleeding.

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  19. Pixel
    Pixel
    August 12, 2015, 2:01 am

    “President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship”

    .
    You’re right, Phil, and you’re doing it.

    Shout it out.

    Loud and often.

    Push the envelope.

    Never give up, never give in, never stop.

    .
    I haven’t written a book. I don’t have a website. Still, like so many others, I try to do my bit which, in part, of course, includes calling the offices of my – and other – Reps/Sens with either positive support/affirmations or the brutal truth.

    In the latter cases, I should probably still be reining myself in by using the measured and polite scripts that are included in the emails I get soliciting my action, all of which go something like, “Please support the Iran deal for the following good reasons…”

    But I don’t. Not any more. Screw it.

    Instead, I politely explain to the kid who answers the phone that what I’m going to say to him/her is NOT personal to them but is merely a message from me to (insert name), which I would appreciate them to pass along.

    Then, I let it rip.

    I remain calm and use a neutral tone of voice, both of which belie my frustration, my anger, and my passion. I mince no words, I take no prisoners.

    I “argue about the special relationship” and I make things VERY personal to (insert name). I call them right out.

    Then, I reiterate to the poor youth who had the misfortune of picking up my call, to remember that what I just said is NOT personal to them.

    I leave my cell number requesting that (insert name) call me so that I can personally discuss all of it with him/her.

    Of course, they never do, so I call them back ad nauseam.

    .
    No more Mr Nice Guy.

    (Well, I am nice but I’m no longer “that” guy.)

  20. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    August 12, 2015, 3:27 am

    way way back during the presidency of Barack Obama

    when only a nuclear deal stood in the way of a war against Iran

    a deal that the Israel-firsters

    were desperately seeking to prevent

    no matter to them the possibility of WW III

    after all

    wouldn’t be there children coming home in body bags

    only it turned out

    inspired as they were by peacemakers of all racial, political and religious persuasions

    that at the last moment the public woke up

    with the sanity of the people united quickly prevailing over the madness of Israel-firsters

    soon thereafter the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel ended

    that there be no war no more, nowhere, never again

    with special thanks to mondoweiss

  21. edwardm
    edwardm
    August 12, 2015, 4:41 am

    the relationship? They take our cash and accept our protection, and in return they give us the finger. Pretty special.

  22. RoHa
    RoHa
    August 12, 2015, 7:01 am

    “Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart–except in Israel–from the rest of the population. ”

    Hold on, there. I thought it was anti-Semitic to suggest that Jews were not really part of the country they live in. Can I, with Abrams’ blessing, now say “Australian Jews are not real Australians like the rest of us, and shouldn’t be allowed the same rights as the rest of us?”
    Or will I still get into trouble?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      August 12, 2015, 10:59 am

      RoHa,

      If you wrote instead “I agree with Mr. Abrams, who writes: ‘Outside the land of Israel, there can…’ etc.” it might avoid trouble.
      Or not.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 12, 2015, 11:23 am

      ” It is the very nature of being Jewish”

      Did I ever tell you about the time I smoked about enough, and watched a video of a nudibranch, a marine creature which appeared to have no form, no symmetry, no interior and no exterior and moved by turning itself inside-out into a new space! A living, three-dimensional Mobuis strip!
      And I said to myself: “There it is! The embodiment of today’s Jewish identity! My poor wife needs to see this!”
      So I sprung up from my chair to go get my poor wife, tripped over the dog, and hit my head on the floor, hard. And when I woke up, I couldn’t find the video again. And that’s what thinking about the Jewish identity will get you, every time.

    • eljay
      eljay
      August 12, 2015, 11:32 am

      || RoHa: … Hold on, there. I thought it was anti-Semitic to suggest that Jews were not really part of the country they live in. … ||

      Don’t worry, I’m sure hophmi will be along any moment now* to condemn Mr. Abrams’ statement as anti-Semitic and perhaps even self-loathing.

      ____________
      (*or not)

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2
      August 16, 2015, 10:30 am

      This was the second of politician Edwin Montagu’s arguments against Zionism (see above) and the creation of a Zionist state in Palestine. Montagu was a member of the Liberal Party and, by the standards of his era, a true liberal. Early last century, the family was strongly supportive of the emergence in Britain of liberal Judaism alongside Orthodox Judaism. Montagu saw through the cynical advocacy of Balfour and other establishment figures for Zionism. He foresaw that a Zionist state carried with it not only the promise of discrimination on religious-supremacist grounds in favour of migrating Jews against Muslims and Christians already living in Palestine but that it could also have an adverse impact on the views taken by other societies of their Jewish citizens, such that they would no longer be regarded are primarily French; or English; or whatever they were; but would be identified primarily as being Jewish, hence not fully “at home” in France, England and so on.
      Montagu, whose family was both successful and highly integrated (his father, the banker, had been made a baronet, later a peer; his elder brother – also a politician – was to be ennobled) and identified itself with the interests of Britain and with the British political and social fabric, feared that a by-product of the Zionist project would be to alienate their broader host societies from Diaspora Jews – in other words, it would be a force inimical to assimilation and one which could fan the dimming embers of anti-Semitism in those societies. To the extent that there is today any increase of genuine anti-Semitism in Europe (as distinct from anti-Israel ‘blow-back’ in response to Israel’s policies and actions), we have Mr. Mileikowsky and his Zio-paths to thank for helping to realise Edwin Montagu’s fears.

  23. mcohen.
    mcohen.
    August 12, 2015, 7:09 am

    peace comes in 2 pieces….the one we dream about and the one we get,they are never the same.

    peace for Israel is a dream and peace for iran is the one it gets

    an i for an i……a piece for a piece

    in any event if the deal of many deals can stop the war in Syria,stop the war in the Ukraine,stop the war in sudan,stop the war in yemen,stop the war in Iraq,stop the war in Israel then it is possible that we might be entering the time of turning swords to ploughshares

    otherwise the deal is not worth the paper it is written on,just pieces of 8

    • eljay
      eljay
      August 12, 2015, 8:17 am

      || mcohen: … peace for Israel is a dream … ||

      It doesn’t help that Israel is an openly belligerent, intransigent, nuclear-armed and supremacist state that refuses to:
      – halt its 60+ years and on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine;
      – withdraw to within its (Partition) borders;
      – honour its obligations under international law;
      – accept responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      Aggressor-victimhood sure is a tough gig… :-(

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 12, 2015, 11:29 am

      “an i for an i……a piece for a piece”

      Hey, “McCohen” did I ever tell you the story about the Zionist who died and when he awoke to the afterlife, didn’t know if he was in hell or heaven?
      See the after-world appeared to be a giant shooting gallery, with Palestinians marching past in rows at an easy range. But nobody would give him a pistol! When the Israeli demanded to know why, he was told “There’s no piece for the wicked!”

  24. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    August 12, 2015, 8:35 am

    Piece in the New York Times yesterday Aug 11 about Gary Samore the President of the United Against a Nuclear Iran (warmongers putting the kill the deal with Iran commercials) stepping down at the President of the group. He supports the P5+1 deal…rest of group does not. I believe he started the group. Former Senator Liebermann stepping in as President of the warmongering group.

    Would sure be great to see Samore in an ad saying he had been President of the group and had started the group and now supports the deal because it is such a comprehensive deal.

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      August 12, 2015, 2:25 pm

      There’s nothing like Joementum to take the wind out of a campaign’s sails.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        August 12, 2015, 10:07 pm

        Yeah how many deferments did warmongering Joe have during Vietnam. Several I believe. Will send your kids and grand kids but not his own. A true blue yellow bellied coward

  25. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    August 12, 2015, 11:24 am

    Friedman, Forward Launch Pincer Attack on Netanyahu

    In today’s column, Friedman examines what he sets up as three different Jewish-Israeli perspectives, a grocer, a military leader, and the prime minister. Only the grocer opposes the Iran deal, in Friedman’s construct, and while his ideal prime minister would embrace the deal, using it to get greater security from the US, he concludes that “unfortunately,” the Israeli Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu, who has no discernible plan to deal with two existential threats – a nuclear Iran, and a one-state solution that is majority non-Jewish.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/opinion/thomas-friedman-if-i-were-an-israeli-looking-at-the-iran-dealhtml.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthomas-l-friedman&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0

    At the same time, the Forward publishes an article by Larry Cohler-Esses, “A Jewish Journalist’s Exclusive Look inside Iran, which is also picked up by the NYTimes, at least online, debunking the Islamo-fascist scarecrow image that opponents of the Iran deal are so fond of.

    http://forward.com/news/318930/a-jewish-journalists-exclusive-look-inside-iran/

  26. ivri
    ivri
    August 12, 2015, 12:11 pm

    Main point missed: It`s too late. Obama is too near the end of his presidency and the process he began with Iran, or even in regard to Israel, is a protracted one and full with obstacles. Until thing will get going he is already gone (or lame duck) – and Obama is actually aware of that. If he wanted to do something in earnest about it he could have done that 6-7 years ago when he also had majority in both houses – now it`s in none of them.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 12, 2015, 12:38 pm

      “Obama is too near the end of his presidency and the process he began with Iran, or even in regard to Israel, is a protracted one and full with obstacles.”

      I know what you mean “Irvi”! When you compare the treaty and rapprochement process, “protracted and full of obstacles” with the sure-fire, simple, slam-bang-thank-you-ma’am, fail-safe, and cost-free option of chucking some bombs at Iran, and then having a war, why, it’s a neo-brainer.

      And gee, now that I think about it, Israel didn’t sit still for that “protracted one and full with obstacles” course of action, did they? Nope, they went out and stole themselves some nuclear bombs! They don’t need no stinkin’ protracters or obstacle course!

  27. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    August 12, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Trump and the American Jewish community.

    It will be interesting to see how Trump maneuvers here. He doesn’t need the money, but he does need the political support, not of Israel and AIPAC, but of the American Jewish community. He’s always seemed pretty Philo-Semitic, but in a purely self-interested way, as one who learned along the pathway of many hundreds of business deals how to succeed.

    Now, with the American Jewish community split, with his polling surviving even his bleeding remark directed at Megan Kelly, with Fox willing to do deals with him, and with all the other Republicans mindlessly attacking Obama on Iran, there’s an opening for him to steal leadership. He could dismiss Obama as a failed leader, dismiss his Iran deal as what you get when you send a weakling to the negotiating table, but then turn savvy, acknowledge that, while he could’ve gotten a much better deal – “it would’ve been huge” – that this deal is better than nothing, the only deal we got, better than rejecting it, because of the consequences of the US walking away from the P5+1 coalition that it put together, shrug it all off with “What are you gonna do with such stupid, weak leaders,” but then turn on Netanyahu and his Republican sheeple, with a comment like: If I were president and a foreign leader treated me the way Netanyahu has treated Obama, I’d cut him off at his knees.

    In one stroke, he’d shatter the Likud-AIPAC-Neocon hold on America, destroy Netanyahu’s feeble hold on power, and offer alliance with the surging part of the American Jewish community who do want to see peace in the Middle East, want to see Israel not so controversial, and lay a claim to the entire disaffected American populace who do not want any more stupid wars in the Middle East, who do not want AIPAC publicly strong-arming their congressmen for stupid purposes, who are tired of the parade of the naked Emperor, for whom the charade of not being able to notice that he’s not wearing clothes is no longer funny.

    He’s much smarter at power than the others in the race, a much better and more-seasoned negotiator, and his past political history – pro-life, pro-single-payor – are much more in synch with mainstream America than the charade required of Republican candidates. He would not be so easily moved, but could be negotiated with.

    And he’s someone who will bring everyone to the polls.

    It will be interesting to see him maneuver.

    • lysias
      lysias
      August 12, 2015, 12:41 pm

      I don’t understand. Why does Trump need the political support of the American Jewish community?

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        August 12, 2015, 10:04 pm

        Follow Trump’s fb page and post comments challenging him. My comments usually end up top comments out of thousands. Not saying much when folks are all yeah yeah Trump. Although have to say I like the way Trump challenges the talking heads. Just wish he would start up on MSNBC a bit.

        He put up an alleged personal statement calling the p5+1 deal the worst ever. Not sure why he needs that lobby. He has come right out and said he did not support the Iraq invasion. Why does he need to go along with that group now?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 12, 2015, 5:47 pm

      “Trump and the American Jewish community.”

      Did you have to go and say that? I was trying so hard not to think about it.

    • Keith
      Keith
      August 12, 2015, 6:26 pm

      DAVID DOPPLER- “In one stroke, he’d shatter the Likud-AIPAC-Neocon hold on America…etc”

      Perchance, are you telling us about a wondrous apparition provided by a magician? (Let us see if Mooser gets the reference)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 12, 2015, 9:21 pm

        “(Let us see if Mooser gets the reference)”

        God, that song used to scare the hell out of me! Being told to “get out my back door” is not a comfortable feeling.

  28. quercus
    quercus
    August 12, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Let’s make this very clear to the Zionists. There is no such thing as ‘dual’ loyalty. If the two things, nations, people, ideas, to which you claim loyalty, come into conflict, you will choose one or the other. That’s a fact. You cannot be loyal to the State of Israel and loyal to the United States, if you in fact subscribe to the idea of ‘loyalty’. David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy Magazine is a very stupid man.

  29. Les
    Les
    August 12, 2015, 4:57 pm

    American Jewry Doesn’t Need Israel to Save It

    It’s hardly surprising that the Jewish Agency withdrew from Israel’s Diaspora initiative; the campaign was deeply misguided.

    Yehuda Kurtzer Aug 12, 2015 9:14 PM

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.670843

  30. Pixel
    Pixel
    August 12, 2015, 6:04 pm
  31. Pixel
    Pixel
    August 12, 2015, 6:43 pm

    Tellin’ it like it is…
    .
    “Groups on both sides of the issue — most notably the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee — are pouring millions of dollars into TV ad campaigns in a bid to sway undecided lawmakers.

    Chuck Schumer working the phones on Iran

  32. annie
    annie
    August 12, 2015, 8:33 pm

    the next few weeks will be interesting

    speaking of weeks, how was the first week of june for you? wasn’t that supposed to be some earth changing event?

  33. mikeo
    mikeo
    August 13, 2015, 6:15 am

    Off-Topic but…

    Any other Brits here?

    If you are not aware of it, you may want to sign this petition:

    Benjamin Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105446

    45,874 signatures and counting…

    At 10,000 the government must respond, at 100,000 it should be debated in parliament

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.670864

    Over to you : )

  34. ritzl
    ritzl
    August 13, 2015, 9:00 am

    Tying the alienation of Allison Weir to “broadening the discussion,” how can her varied and potentially expansive audience be shunned and the discussion be simultaneously broadened?

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